Acirealeturismo.com, created to give useful information to all the people interested in visiting the town of Acireale.
In the Routes section you can find a full description of historical-artistic and environmental routes, to be covered by feet or by bicycle, going through the town center or its surroundings. Following or guide you’ll have an idea of the rich historical, architectural and environmental patrimonium of Acireale. You can admire some examples of the magnific baroque town center or follow the natural routes to the town surroundings and to the sea.
To make your stay easier, the Hospitality section gathers a list of the most important town’s hotels, b&b, farmhouses and campings, with informations and useful contacts.
The origins of the town of Acireale are rooted in the legend of the nymph Galatea and the shepherd Acis, killed for envy by the Cyclops Polyphemus. And ‘the foundation myth of the ancient Xiphonia, mysterious Greek city was born, according to the historian Diodorus of Sicily, in the seventh century BC and located approximately in the area of today’s Cape Mills.
After the Roman conquest in the second century BC, the ancient settlement took the name of Akis (or Acis), given its location on the banks of the river Aci.
Throughout its history, the small town was then called Jachium, under Byzantine rule, Al Yag Arabs and finally Aquilia.
After the earthquake of 1169, the dispersion of the population led to the establishment of several villages. From one of these, in the fourteenth century, was born Aquilia Nuova (or Aci Aquilia), first real nucleus of the present city.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, under Spanish rule, the town of Aci experienced a period of exceptional growth and economic prosperity, due to the consolidation of a strong merchant class. The Emperor Charles V granted to Acireale the status of the City and the city became an important trading center on the Mediterranean, strengthened its defenses on the sea: the late sixteenth century date from the accomplishments of some important works of fortification of the coast, due to ‘intensification of the raids of the Turks, including the Tower Alessandrano, the square tower of St. Anne in Cape Mills (1585), the sentry box of Santa Tecla and the Fortress of Tocco on Timpa of Santa Maria La Scala (1592-1616). In 1587 he started work on the construction of the Via Santa Maria La Scala (The chiazzette).
The economic wealth also produced some lively cultural, witnessed the birth of the Carnival (the first document on the Carnival, a term of payment, is dated 1594) and the founding of the Academy of Earnest (1671).
The processes of economic rise of the sixteenth century and affirmation of the city in the seventeenth century were abruptly interrupted the morning of 11 January 1693, when the city was damaged by the earthquake that devastated the entire south-eastern Sicily.
Despite extensive damage reported (however minor compared to the towns of Val di Noto), soon began the reconstruction work and already in 1705 opened the yard of the church of San Sebastiano, which will be enriched by the facade (1713) and the works Pietro Paolo Vasta.